Describe a cause-effect relationship. You will choose either to explain the causes of a topic OR the effects of a topic.
Make sure to narrow your topic. A broad topic loses strength, and it is harder to keep the supporting details focused and specific. Narrow in on the who, where, and when.
If you choose to talk about the effects, you will want all of your supporting details to be positive, neutral, or negative. It is challenging to effectively combine effects with different perspectives of the impact. It will be much simpler to identify your perspective and address the topic from that angle., This is not an opinion essay, but you can show your perspective in the supporting ideas you choose.
Remember to include adequate background information so that your teacher and classmates that read your essay will understand the context. What specific vocabulary do you need to define or avoid for your audience to understand?
First choose a general topic that you are interested in. Then narrow down that topic into more specific topics. You should have a list similar to the one below. Each of the smaller circles can be a topic that you can discuss the causes of or the effects of.
Simple Google searches with either "causes of" or "effects of" might be a good place to start if you aren't sure what to write about.
Having a topic that you can explain the causes or effects of is often just the first step. You will need to focus even more by thinking abou the who, where, and when you want to discuss. This combines with the controlling idea of causes or effects to create the purpose of your essay.
Wikipedia can be an excellent place to begin looking for information causes or effects of your topic. The information is usually explained simply on that website, but most academic writing will require you to find a different type of source that is more trustworthy. However, Wikipedia usually links references to the specific information it includes. You can use that reference list at the bottom of the page to begin your official search.
As you are developing your supporting ideas and finding sources, thinking about the following questions:
Depending on your topics, an internet search for "CAUSES TOPIC and NARROW WORD" or "EFFECTS TOPIC and NARROW WORD" (ex. causes depression and teenagers) might give you helpful results.
Start with your topic sentences and thesis. Add questions or quotes to help you develop each of your ideas.
Thesis: The arts have a massive effect in the economic, cultural, and social life of the society, not only for just a single country but for the world too.
TS 1: The society have a economically grown thanks to the effect that arts produce on it.
TS 2: The influence of the arts can change how we see a community and how we behave.
TS 3: The society can make huge changes because of the effect that the arts have on it, making it better in many way related to the with the aforementioned topics.
Restated Thesis: The impact of the arts can be seen in the economic, cultural, and social changes in a community.
Note: This example explores one cause (arts) and the impact it has on one topic (society) and it explores that one effect relationship in detail (three different ways arts cause change in a society).
Your introduction should describe in general terms the topic you will write about in your essay. At the end of your introduction paragraph, you should write your thesis. The thesis should clearly state a cause or effect relationship.
Here are some phrases that are useful for writing a cause/effect thesis:
X is caused by Y
The effects of X include Y
Due to X,
X often affects Y
X occurs as a consequence Y
Your body paragraphs should explain how or why your thesis sentence is true. As you plan each of your body paragraphs, remember that using sources will make your writing more credible and interesting.
Use sources properly so that you do not plagiarize. Each of your body paragraphs should have citations.
Your conclusion paragraph should start by restating your thesis. Then, you should speak about the person/event in more general terms and apply their situation to the world more generally. End with a concluding statement.
As you outline your body paragraphs and choose research, make sure the quotes you use support your topic sentence (see pages 19 and 52). Read the example outline below. Notice how the selected quotes support the first topic sentence by answering the questions that were based on it.
TH: Stress affects our body's muscular, cardiovascular, and chemical systems.
TS: One of the most obvious effects of stress is muscle tension.
What muscles are affected?
"For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head" (APA, n.d., "Musculoskeletal," para. 2).
What happens to the muscles?
"When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress — the body's way of guarding against injury and pain" (APA, n.d., "Musculoskeletal," para. 1).
Use the questions below to discuss this assignment before you begin.
Make a brainstorm idea map similar to the one above. Now that you have some options, choose your favorite. If aren't sure which one to talk about, consider the following questions:
Now that you have selected a topic to write about, continue prewriting by deciding what causes or effects you want to discuss. Create a chart like the one below to help you make your topic more specific.
|Cause or Effect
|Work in the US
|you are from a different country
|Cities with the biggest populations
This will help you generate the list of supporting details
Look at each list and decide which points are strongest or most interesting. For example, you might decide that last point is difficult to explain or not common enough to talk about. It would be better to divide communication and culture into smaller parts and focus just on those ideas. Remember that you will be talking about how these points cause problems. You will not be talking about how problems with US coworkers effect international workers.
Use the list from Exercise 3: Focusing the Topic to identify what type of information you need to learn from another source. You can do this by making a list of information you know off the top of your head and a list of things you need to learn (or double-check) to explain the points you chose.
Note: Wikipedia is an ok place to start. However, when you look for sources, try to make sure your source list is:
Revise the theses to be more effective for a cause/effect essay. Write the revised theses on a piece of paper.
Use the topic sentences to create the thesis for this outline.
TS: Depression can be caused by genetics.
TS: Another cause of depression is chemicals in the brain.
TS: A final cause of depression is due to circumstance.
Using the following research, choose quotes that would support the topic sentence below.
TS: Additionally, stress impacts the heart and blood pressure.
"Acute stress causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle, with the stress hormones acting as messengers for these effects. In addition, the blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and the heart dilate, thereby increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body and elevating blood pressure" (APA, n.d., "Cardiovascular," para. 1).
"Chronic stress, or a constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time, can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure, can take a toll on the body. This long-term ongoing stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke" (APA, n.d., "Cardiovascular," para. 2).
"Repeated acute stress and persistent chronic stress may also contribute to inflam- mation in the circulatory system, particularly in the coronary arteries, and this is one pathway that is thought to tie stress to heart attack" (APA, n.d., "Cardiovascular," para. 3).
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